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2 Hunt. It would seem strange unto him when he
waked. Lord. Even as a flattering dream, or worthless
fancy. Then take him up, and manage well the jest:Carry him gently to my fairest chamber, And hang it round with all my wanton pictures : Balm his foul head with warm distilled waters, And burn sweet wood to make the lodging sweet: Procure me music ready when he wakes, To make a dulcet and a heavenly sound : And if he chance to speak, be ready straight, And, with a low, submissive reverence, Say,—What is it your honor will command ? Let one attend him with a silver basin, Full of rose-water, and bestrewed with flowers; Another bear the ewer, the third a dia per ; And say,-Will’t please your lordship cool your
hands? Some one be ready with a costly suit, And ask him what apparel he will wear; Another tell him of his hounds and horse, And that his lady mourns at his disease: Persuade him that he hath been lunatic. And, when he says he is—, say that he dreams, For he is nothing but a mighty lord. This do and do it kindly, gentle sirs; It will be pastime passing excellent, If it be husbanded with modesty.? 1 Hunt. My lord, I warrant you, we'll play our
part, As he shall think, by our true diligence, He is no less than what we say he is.
Lord. Take him up gently, and to bed with him, And each one to his office when he wakes.
[Some bear out Sly. A trumpet sounds. Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds :
Belike, some noble gentleman, that means,
Re-enter a Servant.
An it please your honor,
Lord. Bid them come near.
Now, fellows, you are welcome. 1 Play. We thank your honor. Lord. Do you intend to stay with me to-night? 2 Play. So please your lordship to accept our duty.! Lord. With all my heart.—This fellow I re
member, Since once he played a farmer's eldest son ;'Twas where you wooed the gentlewoman so well. I have forgot your name; but, sure, that part Was aptly fitted, and naturally performed.
1 Play. I think 'twas Soto that your honor means."
Lord. 'Tis very true ;—thou didst it excellent.-
i It was in old times customary for players to travel in companies, and · offer their service at great houses.
2 The old copy prefixes the name of Sincklo to this line, who was an actor in the same company with Shakspeare. Soto is a character in Beaumont and Fletcher's Woman Pleased; he is a farmer's eldest son, but he does not woo any gentlewoman.
1 Play. Fear not, my lord; we can contain our
selves, Were he the veriest antic in the world.
Lord. Go, sirrah, take them to the buttery, And give them friendly welcome every one : Let them want nothing that my house affords.
[Exeunt Servants and Players. Sirrah, go you to Bartholomew my page,
To a Servant. And see him dressed in all suits like a lady: That done, conduct him to the drunkard's chamber, And call him—Madam, do him obeisance. Tell him from me (as he will win my love) He bear himself with honorable action, Such as he hath observed in noble ladies Unto their lords, by them accomplished. Such duty to the drunkard let him do, With soft, low tongue, and lowly courtesy ; And say,—What is't your honor will command, Wherein your lady and your humble wife May show her duty, and make known her love ? And then—with kind embracements, tempting kisses, And with declining head into his bosom,Bid him shed tears, as being overjoyed To see her noble lord restored to health, Who, for twice seven years, hath esteemed him No better than a poor and loathsome beggar. And if the boy have not a woman's gift, To rain a shower of commanded tears, An onion will do well for such a shift; Which, in a napkin being close conveyed,
1 In the old play the dialogue is thus continued :
“ San. [To the other.] Go get a dishclout to make cleyne your shooes, and le speak for the properties. (Erit Player.] My lord, we must have a shoulder of mutton for a property, and a little vinegre to make our divell roar.”
2 Pope remarks, in his preface to Shakspeare, that the top of the profession were then mere players, not gentlemen of the stage; they were led into the buttery, not placed at the lord's table, or the lady's toilet.”
3 The old copy reads this. The emendation is Theobald's. 4 Him is used for himself, as in Chapman's Banquet of Sense, 1595:
* The sense wherewith he feels him deified."
Shall in despite enforce a watery eye.
SCENE II. A Bedchamber in the Lord's House.
Sly is discovered in a rich night-gown, with Attendants; some with apparel, others with basin, ewer, and other appurtenances.
Enter Lord, dressed like a Servant." Sly. For God's sake, a pot of small ale. 1 Serv. Will't please your lordship drink a cup of
sack? 2 Serv. Will’t please your honor taste of these
conserves ? 3 Serv. What raiment will your honor wear to-day?
Sly. I am Christophero Sly; call not me-honor, nor lordship; I never drank sack in my life ; and if you give me any conserves, give me conserves of beef. Ne'er ask me what raiment I'll wear; for I have no more doublets than backs, no more stockings than legs, nor no more shoes than feet; nay, sometimes, more feet than shoes, or such shoes as my toes look through the over-leather.
Lord. Heaven cease this idle humor in your honor!
| From the original stage direction in the first folio, it appears that Sly and the other persons mentioned in the Induction were intended to be exhibited here, and during the representation of the comedy, in a balcony above the stage.
O, that a mighty man of such descent,
Sly. What, would you make me mad? Am not I Christopher Sly, old Sly's son of Burton-heath ; by birth a pedler, by education a card-maker, by transmutation a bear-herd, and now by present profession a tinker? Ask Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot,' if she know me not: if she say I am not fourteen pence on the score for sheer ale, score me up for the lyingest knave in Christendom. What, I am not bestraught. Here's
1 Serv. O, this it is that makes your lady mourn.
i Wilnecotte, says Warton, is a village in Warwickshire, with which Saakspeare was well acquainted, near Stratford. The house kept by our genial hostess still remains, but is at present a mill. There is a village also called Barton on the heath in Warwickshire.
2 Sheer ale has puzzled the commentators; but none of the conjectures offered appear satisfactory. Sheer ale may mean nothing more than ale unmixed, mere ale, or pure ale. The word sheer is still used for mere, pure. 3 i. e. distraught, distracted.